Sky Movies Select: Saturday 3 October, 6.25pm
The owners of the primped and pampered pedigree hounds preparing for Philadelphia’s Mayflower Show, the American equivalent of Crufts, are more eccentric and neurotic than the dogs. A wonderfully warm and witty comedy from writer-director Christopher Guest, working in the observational mockumentary style he pioneered and perfected in This is Spinal Tap.
The bizarre collection of contestants are consistently funny and foolish, yet viewed at all times with great affection and without a trace of condescension. One shudders to think what kind of picture a patronising cynic would have made with such potentially ambiguous material. The ensemble cast is terrific but, before we get too carried away with the notion of improvisation, it is as well to remember that Guest edited a reputed 60 hours of footage down to 90 minutes.
Spinal Tap stalwart Michael McKean is a gay New Yorker with a little Shih Tzu, crazy Parker Posey takes her Weimaraner to a shrink, cosy Florida couple Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara love their terrier Winkie as much as they care for each other: “I like to think Cookie and I work as a team,” says Levy, “although I do nothing.” Guest himself is a hospitable Southerner called Harlan Pepper.
His dog is a bloodhound. Jennifer Coolidge’s poodle is favourite. Best of all is the cross-purpose banter between the show’s TV commentators, polite expert Englishman Jim Piddock and the cheerfully crude Fred Willard, who proves he’s the wrong man for the job every time he opens his mouth. No wonder he later became Ron Burgundy’s station boss.
|Other Showings||Time & Date|
|Sky Movies Select||Sunday, 4 October at 3:55AM|
|Sky Movies Select||Thursday, 8 October at 7:50AM|
|Sky Movies Select||Tuesday, 13 October at 10:25AM|